Rhea Seehorn talks about Better Call Saul Season 3
A business partnership takes love and a romantic partnership takes work, says Rhea Seehorn
Q: What is happening with Kim and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) at the beginning of Season 3?
Rhea Seehorn: A lot! It was really fun and challenging. When we left them in Season 2, Kim and Jimmy were starting a business—practicing law separately but under the same roof. They’re continuing their romantic relationship. And then there’s this third leg of the stool that’s the Mesa Verde case that Kim keeps to protect Jimmy from his brother Chuck’s (Michael McKean) accusations. Kim is also protecting her own ambitions. She wanted that Mesa Verde case. It was very symbolic of a struggle she went through in Season 2, and now it’s even harder. Kim wrestles with good and bad, and legal and illegal. She wishes they were the same thing, but they’re not. These ill-gotten gains begin to plague her. They continue into the relationship and into the law firm.
One of the writers said that a business partnership takes love and a romantic partnership takes work, and I think that’s exactly where Kim and Jimmy are at this point. And it gets tested externally and internally.
Q: Are Kim and Jimmy officially together?
Yeah. I think they’re a couple. That’s part of the relationship they’ve decided to explore. In Seasons 1 & 2 they were confidantes to each other, but now it’s a romantic relationship and a partnership. It’s been really exciting to have fans talk about how much Kim and Jimmy really love one another, and how it looks like a real relationship. Unlike a lot of TV and film it’s not a bunch of sex scenes. It’s what happens when you let characters be mad at each other and leave the room because they know they’ll see each other tomorrow. They have each other’s backs. I’m grateful that people think it feels like a real relationship.
Q: Kim seems like she’s getting comfortable with these cons.
It’s exciting as an actor, because I’m discovering these things. It’s not like there’s a master plan. You have to do it organically. It’s like an onion and you have some familiarity with the other layers. And Kim is constantly drawing a line in the sand about what has consequences that are greater than the benefit of the action. I’m constantly trying to marry those layers and they keep adding up to a real person, which is exciting to play. I think they love each other.
But Kim also has her own dilemma. She’s a workaholic. I don’t know where Kim came from or where she’s going, but some part of her wishes things weren’t so messy. Kim lost and regained a case due to a lie, and that shows how little things can hinge on, between life and getting busted. She certainly won’t be caught in a technicality. But then she had to watch Chuck and realize that he is unable to entertain the idea that he had made a mistake. That audacity has gotten the best of him, and he can’t even admit mistakes or that something had happened.
Q: Do you ask the writers a lot of questions about Kim?
I do, but I don’t get a lot of answers. They’re great, though. It’s hard to explain that you’re not being treated like a puppet. There’s no master plan that they’re keeping from you. I’ve had scripts withheld from me on other projects, where they thought it would somehow make me more raw as an actor. Improv is a brilliant skill set, but this is not that show. Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean are geniuses at that. But this is a scripted show, and they understand that the more you know your lines in every capacity is the more natural and organic a scene will be. Bob and I rehearse in the five seconds he has off every day because the Jimmy and Kim relationship is so much about what is said between the lines. There’s a lot of subtext in these scenes and you want to be free to explore that. The writers assume the intelligence of the audience, and it’s such a gift to get to play that. You don’t have to make sure they get it. I think it’s exciting. You can’t watch it passively.
Q: Do you think Kim knows that she’s being corrupted by Jimmy?
There’s a part of me that thinks about that all time. I’m wrestling with those things too. I do not think Kim thinks she’s anybody’s puppet. Kim is willing to be silent enough to let people hang themselves in a room. Jimmy talks his way out of everything. Kim is that person that uses silence as a position of power. She would win poker in a heartbeat. I would fail miserably. I’ve never felt like she’s dumb; she’s always aware and making a choice. I do wonder where Kim is from. She’s not from New Mexico, and she won’t say where when she’s asked. She started over in a mailroom and doesn’t talk about anything. I try to make that part of the puzzle when I consider why she goes along with some of the positions Jimmy puts her in. I think she loves him. Jimmy is the least duplicitous person in her life. It’s all of the other guys that have alternate agendas and treat her like a pawn.
Q: Have you met women like Kim? Are you like Kim?
I wish I were as still and comfortable as Kim. It’s interesting to think about all the reasons why you don’t speak up, to just step back and let things unfold. I do know people that are much more still and economic in their gestures. Everything comes back to the text. Our scripts are the foundation. Kim has such economy of language. There’s not a lot of fact, and I transfer that to the physicality. It’s a constant discipline to be that way. One thing I do understand is that wrestling with morality. The very theoretical and philosophical question of what it is to be a good person—I think a lot of us wrestle with that every day.
Q: You’re quite passionate about this character.
I am. I love it. I’m one of those boobs who still believes that art can change the world. We’re back to a phase of the world where it’s very important to have art challenging us, to take us on a journey and force us to live in someone else’s shoes. That’s the part of this job I love the most. There are no total clowns, villains or angels in the writing on Better Call Saul. They’re all humans. Nobody can be dismissed. They all have points of view. That’s what makes me passionate about it.
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